These days graphical fidelity in video games is somewhat of an arms race between developers- particularly as Apple made it even easier via iOS 8’s Metal to squeeze every last drop of performance out of modern devices for those “console quality" jaw-dropping visuals everyone is always going on about. But, what about playing games with no visuals besides text? That’s the way things used to be in the early days of computer games with 1975’s Adventure kicking off the genre of interactive fiction.
I’d say the Zork series might be the most recognizable to people, particularly due to the popularity of the grue, introduced with the following simple line: “It is pitch black. You are likely to be eaten by a grue." Decades later, it spawned what might be one of the most popular nerdcore songs (at least that I know of, anyway) “It Is Pitch Dark":
Anyway, why this is relevant today is I recently stumbled across the winners of the 20th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition. This is a particularly interesting internet rabbit hole as once you drill down to the competition itself you’re met with a shockingly vibrant community of authors, judges, and developers of various software suites and utilities that are still keeping the life blood of this scene pumping.
Cooler yet, all of these pieces of interactive fiction work in the iOS IF client Frotz (Free). If you’re curious about this year’s winners, or any other winners, you can just load ’em straight inside the app via the Interactive Fiction Database. Total newbies to interactive fiction should check out this guide, as there’s a bit of a learning curve but if this sort of thing grabs you there’s quite literally a limitless amount of (often totally free) content to consume.